Flacco bashing by vocal minority of Ravens fans comes into perspective

February 09, 2012 | Luke Jones

tom brady

With last week’s addition of Jim Caldwell to the coaching staff, it’s interesting to note the Ravens have hired a former NFL head coach to handle the quarterback coaching duties for the second time in three years.

While many have wondered how much the former Indianapolis quarterbacks coach really helped Peyton Manning when Caldwell served in that capacity from 2002 to 2008 before becoming the Colts’ head coach, he came to the organization at a critical point in Manning’s career. The future Hall of Fame quarterback was coming off his worst season since his rookie year after throwing 23 interceptions in 2001 and rebounded to lead the Colts to the playoffs in 2002.

More interesting than debating the merits of Caldwell’s impact on Manning is what potential wisdom the coach picked up from one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. The best coaches evolve and learn from their players, and it will be fascinating to see how his years of interacting with Manning in Indianapolis might come in handy in helping to mentor Flacco in 2012.

It will be interesting to see how coach John Harbaugh manages the lines of communication between Flacco, Caldwell, and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, but it’s hard to argue with rolling the dice on a guy who worked with Manning for a decade.

Occam’s razor

Reminiscent of the movie Fever Pitch in which Jimmy Fallon’s character watches a replay of Mookie Wilson’s grounder trickling through the legs of Bill Buckner over and over, many Ravens fans cannot let go of the discussion of the final seconds of the heartbreaking loss in Foxborough.

Every aspect and potential variable has been beaten to death, from the merits of calling a timeout to the theory that a magic fan from the grassy knoll at Gillette Stadium pushed the ball wide left.

If you can stomach it one more time, go back and watch the field goal attempt. But, before you do, forget everything you know about the play, including the sequence of events leading to the try, the teams, the names of the players, and the final outcome.

Just watch it for what it is — nothing more, nothing less — right here.

Does it look a bit rushed? Sure, but the hyperbole has spun out of control even weeks later.

A loose translation of the 14th century principle Occam’s razor says that when faced with a number of competing explanations, the most obvious and simplest one is usually the correct one.

As the kicker said very plainly following the game, Billy Cundiff just missed the kick.

And as I discussed with a member of the organization several days following the game, those criticizing Harbaugh for failing to call a timeout would be the same ones calling for him to be fired had he done it and Cundiff still missed after being “iced” by his own coach.

Do I expect this to change anyone’s mind or ease any sorrows? Of course not.

It’s a long offseason after all.



5 Comments For This Post

  1. joe of bel air Says:

    Luke: I know Coach Harbaugh has been supportive of Cundiff and has refused to throw him under the bus but do you really think Cundiff will be our place kicker come September 9, 2012. I always wondered why Cundiff was unemployed in 2009 when the Ravens signed him to replace Haushka. In looking at his statistics up to that point Cundiff converted roughly 73% of his FGs since coming into the league, well below the 80% for most good field goal kickers. Then in 2010 he caught lightening in a bottle and converted well above his average when he hit on 89% of his FGs. Then in 2011 he hits on 75% which is a lot closer to his career average than was 2010. Which is the real Billy Cundiff and do you think Harbaugh is going to bring in someone such as Shane Graham who has a legitimate shot at beating him out.

    (L.J. – Thanks for reading, Joe. I do think the Ravens will bring in a legitimate kicker to compete with Cundiff in training camp. It’s going to take some major gumption for him to recover from that miss, but I don’t know if the Ravens will ever be able to trust him. My gut says the Ravens start 2012 with a new kicker, but I do think they’re going to give him every chance in the preseason to prove himself. Tough situation for all parties involved, because you don’t want to simply cut your losses and risk being in a position like in 2009 when neither Hauschka nor Gano were capable of handling the job.)

  2. unitastoberry Says:

    Eric Wilbur must be talking to a white horse hes crazy! Boston has a culture of winning in so many sports. Brady still has a chance for 4 rings.However,the Jesus status about getting 5 is never going to happen for him. Unitas played in 5 championship games and or Superbowls. Technically he won 4 because in 68/69 the Colts were the NFL champs losing to the AFL champs in Superbowl 3. Can you imagine Steadman,Goldstein,Tantun,Henneman,Jackman writing an article like that? No way.

    (L.J. – Completely insane, and you’re right. He was very clearly going for shock value, and to his credit, it worked.)

  3. Keeb Says:

    I wonder if Ricky is ‘retiring’ so that he can avoid drug testing in the offeseason… He’ll be back on the field next year…

  4. Darryl Says:

    Look, I think both sides of the debate could use a healthy dose of realism. Flacco may not be the best, but he’s the best we could do in the circumstance we were in. Yes, he’s managed (or managed not to get in the way of, depending on who you ask) to get us to 4 straight post seasons. We need to re-sign him and keep him happy.

    You can name on one hand (if that) the number of quality QBs available in the 2008 Draft. Matt Ryan, our Joe, and Matt Flynn (yet to be truely tested). That’s it.

    The naysayers can easily say to your Boston analogy “well, how many playoffs do you think Flacco would have gone to if he kept his offense and had New England’s ’08-’11 Defenses?”

    At the end of the day it’s all useless speculation.

    For better or worse, he’s the guy that Ozzie and Steve and John choose, and that makes him ours. So suck it up, and learn to deal with losses like the fans of the 30 other franchises in this league.

  5. Darryl Says:

    *30 that also didn’t taste the sweetness of winning it all, that is.

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